More than a third of U.S. marriages now begin with online meetings and those unions last longer on average than than those that begin in traditional ways, according to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In a representative sample of nearly 20,000 people who married between 2005 and 2012, the study found that 35 percent had met online and just 7 percent were divorced or separated from their spouse.
The percentage of marital break-ups was a slightly lower among respondents who had met their spouse online rather than off-line.
The study looked at all forms of online meeting, from dating sites to email and gaming platforms.
Among those who met on online dating sites, respondents who had met through eHarmony were most likely to be happy. Those who met on Yahoo personals were least likely to be happy.
The researchers attribute the relative success of online meetings to the fact that, minus time constraints, people tend to be more self-disclosing online than in person. Other research has also found that greater self-disclosure leads to more successful relationships.